People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Rewriting Kaine History

In the heat of the gubernatorial race last year, Tim Kaine called for a modest tax increase to solve the commonwealth's ongoing transportation crisis, at the request of a clamoring public that made its wishes known at public transportation forums held around the commonwealth in those days leading up to the election. It was a recalcitrant legislature that later denied the will of the people.

Is that how you remember recent history?

Well, apparently there are those who would have you believe such nonsense:

Best & Worst Transportation: 2006
By NRVToday

When it comes to do-nothing legislative gridlock, the Virginia Legislature wins our “Jeer of the Year” hands down for its complete failure to act responsibly in funding transportation.

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine heard plenty from voters about the crisis in transportation and so he ran - and won - on a platform to improve mobility in the Commonwealth. That platform, informed by public transportation forums across the state that were standing room only, included increasing some taxes and fees to fund the necessary and long overdue transportation improvements.

So it was no surprise when he sent forward an aggressive, but reasonable transportation funding package to the General Assembly. When the Legislature ended up deadlocked over transportation funding during its regular session, it decided to postpone transportation funding for a special session. Adding insult to injury, lawmakers in the state abruptly ended a special session on transportation early after members failed to agree upon a $2.4 billion transportation plan that was on the
table. In the end, it approved another status quo budget that continues the starving of transportation in the Commonwealth, while gridlock builds and transportation infrastructure crumbles. (
link) [my emphasis]

Not even close to the truth.

The author of this jewel would have you believe that Governor Kaine held his public townhall meetings that dealt with transportation issues during his campaign. In fact, he held off the announcement of his plan until after he was elected and only held his first forum the following week. After he was elected.

During the campaign, he was utterly and intentionally ambiguous on the subject of taxes and transportation, except to say that he wouldn't consider raising taxes until a secure process of funding was in place to deal with ongoing needs. It was immediately after he was voted into office that he changed his tune and signed on to a whopping tax hike that was proposed by liberal Democrats and spineless Republican state senators.

"Virginia Governor Tim Kaine heard plenty from voters about the crisis in transportation and so he ran and won." Too slippery by half.

Oh Good. Another Trail.

For those of you who feel we just don't have enough hiking trails and bike paths in Southwest Virginia (current ratio: 1 trail for every thirteen citizens), you'll be happy to hear that a new trail has been authorized by the courts over in Saltville:
Judge puts Salt Trail on a path to fruition
Debra McCown, Washington County News

The trail will go through.

That’s what Saltville officials say will happen after a circuit court judge ruled earlier this month that the town owns the railroad bed through the Clinchburg community.

Some adjoining property owners challenged the town’s claim of ownership and its plans for a 13-mile trail from Saltville to Glade Spring on the old railroad bed, similar to the Virginia Creeper Trail.

In recent years, the idea of a hiking and biking trail similar to the Virginia Creeper Trail has caught on, and work already has begun on the Salt Trail.

"I’m pretty pleased with what we’ve accomplished at this point, just having the downtown area cleared and cleaned up," [John] Summitt said. (link)
That last quote is rather telling. The downtown area has been cleared. As has much of Southwest Virginia as more and more citizens have moved out to find gainful employment.

Downtown Saltville cleared to make room for another trail. Consider me excited.

Another Trail?

To quote Loretta Castorini's elderly grandfather in the movie Moonstruck, "I'm so confused."

Is Saltville in the process of constructing two hiking/walking trails?

It seems so. In addition to the "Salt Trail" mentioned above, there's going to be a "bird trail" that will meander through the area:
New bird trail under construction
By Dan Kegley, Staff, Smyth County News

Saltville officials broke ground for construction of a long-awaited bird trail through the well fields last week. According to Mayor Jeff Campbell, Christine Helton of Saltville wrote a grant application for trail funding in 1998, and the contractor bid on the project in June.

The 3,000-foot path has trail heads at the Food Country parking lot and on Blake Avenue near the town shop and passes through some of the richest birding habitat in the Saltville Valley adjacent to the salt ponds. (link)
Shrewd move, guys. If, as Congressman Rick Boucher believes, a hiking trail or a bike path will bring economic prosperity to a local community, just think what two such paths/trails will bring.

The mind boggles.

Where's The Rest Of The Story?

Sometimes reporters can be so aggravating. Check out this (partial) story at TriCities.com:

Wise County judge suspended
News Channel 11 Staff Reports

The Wise County courthouse in Virginia is without a juvenile and domestic relations court judge.

Judge Mickey Shull was suspended for inappropriate behavior.

A complaint filed against Shull alleges he acted inappropriately with a female witness in the courtroom last week.

We know Virginia state police delivered the papers, and he's not allowed to return to work, pending a hearing. (link)

So what was the "inappropriate act" that got Shull suspended? Did her tell a joke? Did he fondle her? Did he ask about her sordid past? Comment on a zit on her chin? Call her names?

We'll never know because the reporter didn't get the job done.

Good grief.

Quote Of The Day

On journalists, war, and their heroic place in it:
Should the Press Cut and Run?

Journalists are quite proud of their own profession's sacrifices, as evidenced by ... by this report from the
Canadian Press:

"The deteriorating situation in Iraq coupled with the targeted killings of reporters in several countries made 2006 the deadliest year on record for journalists, the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression report.

At least 82 journalists lost their lives as a direct result of their work--up from about 60 the previous year--with war zones proving the most dangerous locales, the group reports.

'A lot of those journalists were killed in war zones, particularly Iraq, where 39 journalists, at least, lost their lives this year,' said Julie Payne, manager of the Toronto-based group."

We don't ever remember a journalist saying that war reporting just isn't worth the risk--that the networks, wire services and newspapers should cut and run from Iraq or any other war zone.

Do journalists think theirs is a more noble calling than the liberation of a country?
James Taranto, Best of the Web Today, December 29, 2006

There'll Be No Rat Hole Where He's Going

It's a good day:
Dictator Who Ruled Iraq With Violence Is Hanged for Crimes Against Humanity
By Marc Santora, James Glanz, and Sabrina Tavernise, The New York Times

Baghdad, Saturday, Dec. 30 — Saddam Hussein, the dictator who led Iraq through three decades of brutality, war and bombast before American forces chased him from his capital city and captured him in a filthy pit near his hometown, was hanged just before dawn Saturday during the morning call to prayer.

The final stages for Mr. Hussein, 69, came with terrible swiftness after he lost the appeal, five days ago, of his death sentence for the killings of 148 men and boys in the northern town of Dujail in 1982. He had received the sentence less than two months before from a special court set up to judge his reign as the almost unchallenged dictator of Iraq. (link)
"Hanged for Crimes Against Humanity ..." How powerful that message is. Too bad there is a host of Americans who fight the notion.

I expect the U.N. to respond with a call for more weapons inspectors and a resolution condemning ... something ...